Amid crisis, Hezbollah 'bank' a lifeline for some Lebanese
As more Lebanese fall into poverty in the country's economic crisis, increasing numbers are turning to the financial arm of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group for help. He could still pull out the dollars in his account at the al-Qard al-Hasan Association, the financial arm of the militant Hezbollah group. Stepping in where the state and financial institutions have failed, Hezbollah is providing a vital lifeline for some Lebanese. Over the past year, the al-Qard al-Hasan association has seen a significant increase in clients, despite it being under U.S. Treasury sanctions since 2007. That has proven a boon for the al-Qard al-Hasan association, as some turned to it as an alternative to store their cash.
Lebanese government meets after night of raging protests
(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)BEIRUT Lebanon's prime minister held an emergency Cabinet meeting Friday after a night of raging protests that saw demonstrators shut down roads across the country with burning tires in renewed protests spurred by a plunging national currency. Prime Minister Hassan Diab canceled his scheduled meetings for the day and called for an emergency session to discuss the crisis. The renewed demonstrations amid calls for Diab's resignation are a huge challenge for the prime minister who took over in December after his predecessor, Saad Hariri, resigned amid nationwide protests late last year. Despite efforts to control the currency depreciation in recent weeks, the Lebanese pound tumbled to more than 6,000 to the dollar on Thursday, down from 4,000 on the black market in recent days. Lebanons financial crisis predates the virus pandemic that put the country in a total lockdown for months, further compounding the crisis.